Federation-Apocalypse Session 166 – Chilling with the Cat Clan

Magic Water Fountain Light at Night Garden

In the gardens of the cats

While the mind of an Ourathan Elder wasn’t something that human minds were yet equipped to comprehend, some of S!vrah^’s more… basic musings might translate something like this.

S!vrah^ had not seen such a reckless and unethical maneuver in many eons. Many of the early Openers in a races history would be hatchlings or subadults of course, and many would be reborn early – but such was no great tragedy. But to load so much raw power, and a sizeable chunk of the races drives to survive, expand, and dominate, onto a mere subadult – and then to permit it to act unsupervised, and to bind many thousands more hatchlings and subadults to itself…

Admittedly, the tactic was allowing the species to multiply it’s supply of Gatekeepers far beyond the norm, and to embark upon some most ambitious projects – even according to the standards of the elder races – but the risks!

Even leaving aside the ethics of so enslaving and burdening a hatchling – potentially delaying its development by uncounted billions of years (in contrast to the brief apprenticeships it had chosen to use on its subordinates) – all the drives and power it had been burdened with were being held in restraint by nothing more than the good sense of an infant! If that fragile balance should tip – and the child go from seeking to claim the infinite by perpetually expanding the livable reaches of the Core while tolerating other species to attempting to exterminate or enslave the “competing” races – the ensuring war could easily destroy the galaxy!

And if the infant should somehow win, the wave of destruction would wash across the cosmos.

It was no use attempting to persuade the child. It was so deeply in thrall to the instincts and drives it had been burdened with that it almost could not act otherwise. There were some signs that it was growing to meet the challenge that had been imposed upon it – greatly to its credit – but that might require millennia, with every day of those centuries a potential disaster!

S!vrah^ WOULD find a way to speak to this “Ryan” who – as an adult Opener of the species – had apparently either set up or catalyzed this insanity! There must be some way in which it could be reversed! The other races could, if necessary, contribute the services of a few Gatekeepers to the child’s pet project. It was indeed a worthwhile – if perhaps greatly premature – endeavor, but the way it was being managed… Most of the adults of this species apparently didn’t even know what the child was up to!

For the moment he would have to rest and recover for a bit. He could even use the services of the hatchling-aides the child had assigned him – even if the intent WAS obviously also to keep an eye on him. With those drives, the boy could hardly help but be suspicious of any representative of another species intruding into his species territory… It would be best not to send any active reproductive pairs as representatives for quite some time to come. It was surprising enough that the child would tolerate the subordinate species that HIS species had produced. Was the child broad-minded or self-disciplined enough to consider them offspring of his race? That would be a somewhat promising sign.

Meanwhile, Raphael was still trying to analyze what had happened to Kevin in the month’s since he’d seen the child.

Even if it was obvious that it would take months to pick apart the incredible improvisational tangle.

Now the boy seemed to have inadvertently created a projection or avatar with enough of an actual physical body to maintain an independent existence in some ways. It would start to wander around, act on it’s own, and even begin to fall into a local role of it’s own as the mental resonance started to fade… It would still be linked with him, trackable, and able to draw power in the appropriate role or realm – as well as being a link back to Kevin for summonings and other rituals designed to draw on the boy’s power – but in many ways it was similar to a living simulacra.

Whether or not that would work in the realm it had ended up was quite unknown though – which was a potential bother. With a prohibition that strong, almost ANYTHING might require trying to draw on another realm if it could be managed at all!

Hm… It looked like ley line nexus points could provide a bit of power there – enough, perhaps, to produce some worthwhile effects if proper structures were used to focus and channel it. Calling on entities from outside might work too, provided you had a link to it in the first place. There might be more than that available – like basic Witchcraft – but they’d have to consult the Unified Church for more information.

Kevin, meanwhile, was exploiting the link a bit thanks to his multitracking – although his initial influence over the simulacrum was fading rapidly. It looked like he had indeed landed in “Poland”, during that “World War Two” thing… Was that when people had been using those “Icebeams” firing from the north pole? Anyway, at least he’d gottena good look around. That might be important at some point – particularly if they could get by the churches prohibition.

Sadly, he hadn’t even been able to find out if the place at least allowed basic witchcraft, as Core did.

Oh never mind! It was off to the next set of parties back in Cyrweld! The Midnight Gardener stations seemed to be working reasonably well without their immediate attentions…

That was Cat for Kevin and Raphael and Rabbit for Marty.

Marty had to agree! It was party time! Of course, that was USUALLY his first thought whenever he was unoccupied and in a remotely suitable area…

  • Kevin made sure to take his assorted litter-bearers and usual trio of servants to the party. They’d just be left cooling their heels outside, but that was part of the impression he wanted to make! They’d be nearby if he needed them, and there were always his current pair of pocket-companions for any immediate assistance! Besides… since the Panthers were on the outs with the rest of the cats, his litter-bearers were quite appropriate. He kept a tap on them going just to see if anything amusing happened.
  • Marty just took Minel. If it came to a fight or something, one or two more Thralls wouldn’t really make a difference in the middle of an enemy stronghold.
  • Raphael, once back in the same dimension and not worrying about being ambushed at a choke point, called back two of his robots in psicrystal form to ride his shoulder and belt, sent one of the other two with Marty, and left the last prowling around the city in search of a hearth stone he can examine. It was, after all, sharing the package of divinatory spells he’d cast on himself back in the overlay zone going out of Kadia – and they had pretty decent durations. Besides… He’d included magic detection, a specific “analyze magical devices” effect, and a “detect customer” charm that SHOULD let it tell if it could buy its way into seeing one.

The feline party was a lot less of a formal affair than the Canine Party. There was a lot more intermingling between the ranks, more open discussion, and large carcasses on display for those who wished to grab something to eat. There were fruits, vegetables, and grains available as well – but not as ostentatiously displayed. There was a minstrel band playing quiet music in the middle of the room, entertainers performing little shows, and a storyteller for the children.

Kevin thought that was a MUCH more satisfactory party, even if perhaps a bit too G-Ranted!

He got himself a leg of lamb to munch on, and started chatting with various people (especially cute young women), circulated amongst the entertainments, and waited to be approached…

Raphael drifted off to the driest conversations he could find – scholarly discussions on magic theory, artificing, and technology.

That man REALLY needed to lighten up sometimes.

Actually Raphael was using sound-filtering to listen for anything interesting – but he did find the technical conversations interesting anyway, and they made a great cover.

As far as the cat patrons went, most of them – except for a single Male Tiger – simply sneered at the bearers, making a show of spurning them disgustedly as only cats could. The Tiger headed for Kevin after he came in however…

(Tiger) “Interesting choice of palanquin bearers. Where did you find them?”

(Kevin) “Oh, I acquired a matched set after a sea battle, and they just seemed perfect for the job!”

(Tiger) “I don’t suppose you have more you’d like off your hands? They do have their uses for hunting and bodyguarding – and my name is Valerian.”

(Kevin) “And I’m Angkor… As far as bearer’s go, the look is really quite good; the black fur sets off the Palanquin nicely. I might be able to acquire some more though. I was planning a venture in the area after all!”

(Tiger) “Ah, I had heard rumors. The fur does set off the palanquin nicely. Perhaps some more gold, for an extra bit of flair?”

They’d drifted off to one of the quieter, more private, alcoves for negotiations…

(Kevin) “I’ve thought about it, but the collar, loose muzzle, and other equipage seemed like enough. Overdressing slaves is a bit tacky anyway… So, I take it you were planning on hunting some truly dangerous game?”

Hm. For all his obvious power, this was a most easily-led young wolf! How was he ever going to be an alpha at that rate? Still, that was no reason for him to complain; wolves could be so prideful! Didn’t the youngster have an interest in any of the entertainments?

Kevin really wasn’t worrying about it. He was HERE to be contacted, and it wasn’t like any one place on the floor was that much better than another.

(Tiger) “Why, yes. I’m embarking on an expedition beneath a branch, and their coloration is well suited to such an environment.”

(Kevin) “Well, I shall have to see if I can obtain a few suitable servants for your consideration!”

(Tiger) “I am glad to do business with you, then! Now what would you like in return? Zenni are no problem, but I suspect the same applies to you.”

(Kevin) “Oh, I’m more interested in establishing a shipping hub at the moment. I think establishing a presence here might suit my larger operations!”

The tiger ought to have SOMETHING to offer along those lines. At worst, he could put in a good word for them with the Cat Clan head – and his note that he had few money worries suggested far greater influence than THAT.

As it turned out, arrangements could be made with various portions of the Cat Clan for discounts on rent and services, preferences for contracts, and other favorable treatment from the clan in exchange for a percentage of earnings locally. That might work out very well. Kevin decided to see what he could do then. He didn’t actually need much, but he and Marty did like operations to be self-supporting or even profitable if it was at all possible!

Meanwhile, half of what Raphael was overhearing was a bit… obvious. There were discussions regarding a new type of magic item that had started appearing on the street, talk about some strange creature or creatures that were rumored to be running loose in the city, and rumors of a new group of mice and rats immigrants who had taken up residence deep within the caverns in the mountains surrounding the city. They were reputedly the ones building a number of elaborate mechanisms and devices that had begun appearing for sale on the markets.

Hm. New types of item… Purely technological perhaps? It would be awkward to find a type that worked here, but a translation-effect might work. Ah, no – from listening in further it seemed to be a small stone that had been found in the pockets of a number of low-lifes recently caught in a crackdown over in the warehouse district. It appeared to be linked with some much larger magical object elsewhere and confered a number of benefits on them. No one else had been able to use them so far however…

A cheaper, focused, version of a Heartstone? A larger item elsewhere that bestowed powers was, of course, quite familiar – but one that you did’t have to bind yourself to would indeed be new. He’d have to try and get a look at those.

Other creatures could be the reptile-assassins, another visitor chasing Kevin or Marty (or perhaps even himself), or even those feathered dragons that Kevin had apparently added to the local environment just for the fun of it.

Marty wondered the new immigrants were the Rats and Mice of NIMH. They were relatively nearby, and they’d certainly inspired them to start looking into whatever natural gates were available.

On the “that was easy” side, his robot was reporting that there were several Heartstones that he could easily get a look at if he just paid a large fee and is willing to put up a VERY large security deposit until after his examination. Money did talk, and there were several minor guilds that were open to anyone who could pay the entry fee anyway.

He’d have to take a few days to get local funds and a solid local identity going before agreeing to pay, but that wouldn’t be a big problem. He could always just borrow from Kevin – but somehow that seemed just a bit wrong somehow.

There were rumors swirling that a guild might have figured out a “cheaper” way to transmute normal materials into magical versions, discussions about the theoretical possibilities regarding Ideal Materials, discussions regarding branches of magic theories describing higher order effects, plus speculation regarding the number of highly magical young adults that had begun to flood the city.

Well, Kevin and Marty were certainly drawing notice. No doubt they were some of the juiciest and most exciting sources of rumors within the last few years.

Kevin ran across Mrs Jessica Muirhead, and stopped to say hello.

(Jessica) “Oh, it’s Angkor again! Good to see you. I hope the Rabbits haven’t given you too much trouble.”

(Kevin) “Oh, none at all so far… It’s almost disappointing! Perhaps they’re too embarrassed – or perhaps even they find that sort of behavior shameful enough to hide those losers away!”

(Jessica) “Well, I certainly hope so! My father is still put out about it. But what brings you to our party, other than me?”

(Kevin) “Well, I am glad to have been of assistance! I trust that even the rabbits would find it foolish to attempt to bother you about the matter… How is your older brother? He did take a rather rough fall when he jumped me on our way back, but he didn’t seem injured… As for the party – I simply thought that it might be fun to get to know a few people locally – and the Wolf party was stiff, formal, and boring! I am glad to see that your family is more fun.

Well, OK. Doubtless there was still a great deal of less formal social maneuvering going on at this party, but at least there were other things to do!

(Jessica) “Oh, I think you dented his pride somewhat. I suppose he wanted to test himself against you. And I had heard as much about the Wolves. Even at their parties, they want everyone to know where they stand in the social structure. We would much rather concentrate on the entertainment.”

(Kevin) “Ah yes! They got all stiff and cranky when I provided a bit of amusement for the children, who were all bored stiff! Kids like a bit of fun and excitement at a party, and it’s rather cruel to deprive them of it!”

(Jessica) “I suppose they complained. Their party customs haven’t changed in many decades.”

(Kevin) “I prefer to keep my parties a little more… flexible”

Well, there was no one waiting to approach him, he had food, and there were no more available (or cuter) girls in the offing – so no reason not to linger with Mrs Muirhead!

(Jessica) “Well, what did you do? I am curious. You do seem to be quite powerful.”

She was getting pretty bored. After that rape attempt, her father hadn’t been letting her off the estate without guards and minders!

(Kevin) “Oh, I opened up a gate in the yard to a safety-oriented carnival-dimension for the children to play in and got them some of the local currency to spend. They had a lot more fun there!”

Wait, he’d WHAT? He used that kind of power for party tricks to amuse children? Yes, he’d casually defeated three fairly dangerous rabbits, but that meant that most of his minor unique features were power-signs, not affectations… But he seemed to be – if anything – slightly younger than she was! Besides – he was a VERY charismatic young male – and a bit of fun with a Wolf was entirely consequence-free; they couldn’t even father hybrids on felines.

Kevin escorted Jessica around the party a bit and made conversation… She was showing some promising signs of romantic interest and a desire for a further relationship. Even if cats were a bit fickle, that could be quite a lot of fun!

She did withdraw after a bit, but in cat terms that was also a good sign! He’d have to come up with some presents…

Meanwhile, Raphael had gone to see if he could add anything to the discussion of ideal materials

(Lion) You see, the concept is that all materials that we know of, whether mundane, psionic, or magical, are merely crude representations of the Ideal. All of them have flaws and weaknesses of some sort, refinement and imbuement of energies can rectify this to some extent, but perhaps there is some means of removing all the flaws from a given material or simply create is wholesale?

(Tiger Mage) Isn’t this just a variant on the old idea of Ideal forms? That there exists a perfect and optimized form of various objects that cannot be improved any further for a given function? Like how you can only build a clock so accurate before any more improvements become meaningless?

(Raphael) “Not really, the ideal object has a specific use. an ideal material is the exemplification of a series of properties so it can have a truely useful for many things without actually being optimized for any one use. A perfect material would not be perfect for all uses as it could not work for anything that requires limits on those properties – so it could not replace all those uses of the material.””

(Tiger Mage) Well, I heard that a theurgist at the Academy has been busily spending his time on the process. A rather eccentric fellow I must say. He’s been spending a fortune in Zenni recently buying gold and other odd metals.

(Lion) Well, considering the world around us seems to be made up of twelve specific nouns. At least according to the theurgists anyway. Might that say a lot about the nature of the world around us that most everything can be classified as such?

Ah. So the Mages were trying to make perfect examples of the nouns and not ideal materiels as in ideal metal, wood, stone, and so on – which was more or less what the philosophers seemed to be talking about. Whether or not they realized that they are speaking of different ideas was open to question. They might just be standing around philosophizing and displaying their sagacity.

Kevin had caught just a bit of all that – and noted that, to phrase it classically, “I thinketh that the sages affixith Wind to top-quality papyrus with heavy bronze bolts.”

(Raphael): “Actually it says not so much… just that it takes twelve categories to fit everything in. It could be done with fewer, but more broad categories. I have seen systems that only use four, but their definitions for those four are very vague. I have also seen some that use hundreds, but noone could ever get anywhere trying to learn specifics of every noun that way.”

(Tiger Mage) “Interesting, so you know of systems that use as few as four? I couldn’t even imagine a system that actually used hundreds.”

(Raphael) “Those that use fewer are harder to learn as they combine some things in weird ways. that one called their categories air, fire, water, and earth – with each having a mental side, a spiritual side, some relation to either magic or illusion, and little acknowledgment of life as either something separate from just moving groups of elements or as some property of fire.”

(Tiger Mage) “Interesting. So this may say that the classifications may well be something in our heads as opposed to actual properties of the world around us then?”

(Raphael) “It might be, but it could also be something with how the local gods see magic too. it is hard to tell without taking an actual practitioner on one of those systems here, but I think it is likely to only really be in our heads if the gods are not enforcing some part of it.”

(Lion) That would be a most interesting experiment. Any idea where such a mage might be found?

(Raphael) “Actually, I know of several places they can be found, but I do not know how to get there from here in a repeatable way that is useful for doing convincing anyone to try it. I have a strange form of travel for long trips that is hard to replicate for others and it is quite draining for me.”

(Tiger Mage) “Ah, it must be a long trip then, the really long distance spells are so unreliable at times.”

(Lion Philosopher) “Makes one wonder what the optimal set of categories would be like. Like the mind might be predispositioned towards categorizing things a certain way?”

(Raphael) “Oh I would not worry about that too much, you probably have it as optimized as the local races can get it unless there is some sign that it is inefficient in some way.”

(Leopard Noble) “True enough, have not our mages had many years to refine and optimize their work? Most of what I have seen in my time is new formula and applications, not radical advancements in the field. I think the major discoveries left to be found lie in the higher energy levels. Like where the Eight-and-a-Half-Tails does her work.”

(Tiger Mage) “But so few ever get to those levels of achievement. It’s not like discoveries at those levels will have much practical application to the rest of us since we can’t cast at those levels. Artificing items that function at those levels is also horrendously expensive.”

(Raphael) “There might always be something to learn from other approaches. I personally have done some work adapting to abandon nouns altogether if only for understanding things, but it is very inefficient in some ways, but could have the advantages of using more natural talent than just raw skill.”

(Lion Mage) “A nounless system? Would this be anything like a mathematical system or something more intuitive?”

(Raphael) “Here let me show you some of the basics”

He went over some of the basics of his mathematical rune divination magic, and even cast a self-analyzing spell that had no real effect other than giving his audience a good idea of how it was cast.

That produced considerable interest. Few of the locals ever dabbled with forms of magic other than what they were born with – and thus had a massive head start on.

While he was at it, he called in a few of Kevin’s Thralls. A fair number of them dabbled in other forms of magic than what Kevin bestowed on all of them – although even that was very different from the local style. It might be fun to see reactions – and the twelve-element bit didn’t seem to be particularly fundamental even in this universe.

The demonstrations did attract quite a lot of attention.

Meanwhile, Kevin had drifted past the storytellers and handed out some random – if fairly minor – magical charms (and pats on the head) to all the kids. It was a party after all!

Besides, it gave him an excuse for surveying them for interesting talents.

Hey, one of them – some kind of rex, and a bit on the chubby side – seemed to have some sort of variable tracelessness that he could activate at will! That was kind of neat! He could swipe all the cakes, and eat them all, and no one would ever be able to prove it! If the kid hadn’t been full of mischief to start with, he CERTAINLY would be after a little experience with the uses of THAT ability.

Of course, it could also very easily get him into a great deal of trouble. Hopefully he either had, or soon would, develop some caution.

The kid got a pat on the head, a very nice gift, and a conspiratorial compliment on his “good looks and other natural talents.”

It looked like the kid had managed to pick up a few rumors about Angkor from his parents or the servants  – or perhaps was nervous enough about being found out to have heard his oratorical broadcast…. He apparently wouldn’t mind a sudden boost in his magical abilities, and might be sending “Angkor” a discreet theurgical message after the party, when an obedient child should be in bed.

Well, that would depend a bit… Felines were usually pretty independent, but Kevin wasn’t sure of the local legal standing of his contract with respect to “noble” children. Still, a trip to Kadia apparently made it legal enough if he snuck off and escaped his parents voluntarily.

He checked – the kid did know about the gate at the Amarant Solutions office from the broadcast – and opted to let the kid handle the matter. A discreet, traceless, Thrall-agent in the Cat clan might be very informative!

Then he got back to being available and to fishing for girls…

Over at the rabbit party, Marty was being corned by a mob of kids who had heard about the pirate parrot stories from the morning – and who wanted to hear those stories too.

He told them. The kids around here were all so cute! Even if a mob of Rabbit kids WAS a literal mob when it came to size… Thanks to his parrot voice he didn’t need an amplification spell, but it was close!

The older Rabbits, however, seemed to be more than a bit cranky and tense… It looked like there were some internal disagreements. There were some rumors about a trio who’d attacked a girl and been gelded for it. The lower ranks were mostly laughing at the humiliation, the upper ranks were either hostile or ambivalent depending on specific outlook. The faction led by the Rabbit working with the panthers was particularly hostile about it.

Wait, what? There wasn’t much doubt about who was behind that! He was really going to have to speak to Kevin about that! That was a pretty big insult, even if it wasn’t permanent!

Marty tried to stick more with the lower ranks and the ambivalent upper ranks. Of course, if somebody hostile wanted to talk to him, he wouldn’t  make a scene unless they really got under his feathers… Most of the hostile faction were aware enough of his association with Kevin – and sure enough of who the “passing stranger” had been – to be pretty suspicious of him anyway.

Oh well! That was to be expected. Still, if the kids enjoyed the stories and he got out of the party without major problems, he’d be a happy parrot!

Actually, as it turned out, most of the “common” rabbits were trying to find out just how rich he was – and more than a few of them were trying to find jobs with a rich trader for their offspring. It looked like, for rabbit-parents, that was a constant preoccupation…

Marty tried to downplay his level of wealth somewhat while discreetly examine the body language of the people wanting him to hire their relatives for hostility.

There actually didn’t seem to be much. There might be one or two trying to palm off a spy on him, but most of the job-seekers were the lower-class parents who apparently weren’t in on the whole lets-start-a-clan-war thing.

Hm. He was a bit leery of rabbit hires… Still, he consulted Kevin.

Kevin wouldn’t mind Thralls – but for straight hires… maybe for routine, low-priority stuff. At the moment he was a bit down on the rabbits. Of course, normal ones might not dare try to cheat him if word had been getting around.

Well, that was fair enough. Routine and low-priority jobs it was then, with the Thralls told to keep a discreet eye on things. They definitely wouldn’t be taking any on the trading journey.

Kevin had a thought… They could REALLY upset the war-party if he had someone relay an offer on buying the three who were now disgraced and suitable for harem guard duty.

Let’s see now… a gazelle-messenger kid (there were lots of them running about anyway) and something like “My employer has heard that you have three disgraced individuals now suitable for harem-attendant duty, and would like to make an offer…”

It might really stir things up!

He sent a messenger with a really GOOD offer. It should really stir up the factions! He told the kid to deliver it to some of the upper-level rabbits – and preferably to a group that included some of the important ones who DIDN’T want a war and would find the behavior of those three quite embarrassing.

Marty spotted the gazelle-kid arriving, and had to wonder what was up…

A little witchcraft-based sensory boosting let him listen in on the offer easily enough though.

Oh dear! That almost HAD to be Kevin! The locals hardly EVER sold any of their own into slavery! That was why they were so strong on indentures and only enslave the “inferior beasts” from other continents!

Surprisingly enough – both the Kevin and Marty – an outright slave-sale was approved in short order, much to the chagrin (and embarrassment and anger) of the war-faction! What was… Oh! The war-faction was a sub-section of the Nobility – and was almost entirely male. Pretty much the ENTIRE female side of the clan was seriously down on that particular trio… Add that to the elders of the non-war group (who wanted to embarrass the war-party and to stamp on the general misbehavior of the younger generation), quite a few of the younger generation who were looking to dispose of some competition, and the fact that it HAD been an excellent offer, and you wound up with a quick “Sold!”.

That had to be pretty stinging. Their own relatives had disowned them and classified them as livestock to be sold. Kevin sent a sizeable Thrall-contingent – in larger and more imposing guises – to take possession of the three and take them to Kadia for more processing… After all, he hadn’t seriously expected the Rabbit Clan to sell them, so he had no real purpose in mind for them!

Hey! They might have some worthwhile information or something! Then… Maybe Jessica would like their services? That could be a great little gift – and a temptation to her to make a point of showing them what they’d lost their chances at…

Not at all a bad idea!

At least if it wouldn’t upset her and wouldn’t make trouble for the Cat clan.

Oh well, it would take a couple of days to finish up working on them anyway, even in Kadia – and his best current evaluation of Mrs Muirhead suggested that she would gladly take them as long as she was given good assurances of the restraints on them (which, as outright slaves, was of course pretty much “as needed”). It wasn’t every girl who had a trio of slave-attendants. Similarly, as long as the Cats advertised the three as a gift from an outsider they SHOULD still retain the “moral high ground” on the matter. Some of the more belligerent rabbits might not care about such things – but the more moderate faction should consider it a fair price for the initial infraction. The trio would probably be pretty cranky at first, but a bit of processing – pretty much the same procedure he used on the dragon-slaves – would fix that.

Marty quietly drifted away from the more hostile groups. They were angry enough at the moment that it probably wasn’t safe to be near them. He hadn’t actually overheard who’d bought them – and the Clan was keeping it quiet – but it was pretty obvious! Who else would try it?

He was promptly accosted – but it was by some of the minor guild representatives. After all, he could obviously afford to pay for Heartstone upgrades, which meant that a minor guild could soon become a major one (the major ones mostly had their heartstones fairly well complete already; further upgrades would require epic-level rebuilds, which were generally out of the question). That meant that memberships could EASILY be arranged for him.

Hm. Perhaps one of the smaller messengers or adventurers guilds. They could use the help! And he could always join more than one…

Back at the feline party, Kevin was met by a very formal looking Raccoon.

(Kevin) “And hello there! Hm… Have a fruit-and-nut cluster?”

(Raccoon) “Excuse me, but I am looking for Kevin Sanwell. I was told to come to this location and find someone matching your description.”

(Kevin) “Ah. Well, locally I’m going by Angkor… And I presume your business is more serious than simple partygoing?”

(Racoon) “Yes, I am an associate of Lemar and Burton Law Firm. I have been directed to hand you this summons to court in the United States of America New York State, New York City 5th Court to act as a witness.”

(Kevin, with some curiosity) “To what?”

(Raccoon) “A number of plantiffs have filed lawsuits against the organization you are apparently part of. They have formed into a class action lawsuit questioning the legality of a certain contract your organization is currently offering to potential applicants. Namely, the enslavement of the living is under question.

That provoked a number of odd looks from the other party goers.

(Kevin) “Ah. I shall see if that’s practical. After all, to actually sign up they are departing your dimension, which does put the jurisdiction in serious question.”

(Raccoon) “I will not discuss the legal difficulties involved in the case. I am only to ask that you please attend the court proceedings.”

(Kevin) “I fear you will need to be somewhat more specific as to location – and as to time; it’s not at all uniform across the dimensions.”

The raccoon handed over a manila envelope detailing the realm, time, place, directions, and even where to park. It looked to be three weeks from now, based on Kevin’s estimation of the timerates involved.

Well, he might have to attend via remote projection, but it should be possible… He passed the news on to Marty too. He’d probably find an interdimensional business law case interesting!